The team has won four consecutive NFC South titles. But the New Orleans Saints are still looking to make their first Super Bowl appearance since 2009.
You would think a team that has compiled a solid 49-15 regular-season resume the past four seasons would have a little hardware to show for it. Unfortunately for the New Orleans Saints, that impressive ledger and four consecutive NFC South titles may get you a cup of Café Du Monde and a beignet.
Now the franchise will begin a season without quarterback Drew Brees on the roster for the first time since 2005. But the depth chart is talented in many aspects, especially when it comes to the trenches.
The team was strapped by the salary cap this offseason per usual but general manager Mickey Loomis was able to add a piece or two. And that’s why this team remains a Super Bowl contender. So what will it take in part to get to the “Big Game?”
1. Saints defense can be among the league’s best
Over the past four seasons, a more balanced offense has allowed the New Orleans Saints’ defensive unit to finally come into its own. Once an albatross for quarterback Drew Brees and an electrifying attack, Dennis Allen’s pride and joy has performed much better thanks to standouts such as defensive end Cameron Jordan, underrated linebacker Demario Davis and cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
Speaking of the secondary, this proved to be an area of concern early in the 2020 season. There was a midseason surge and things were looking up but some issues resurfaced down the stretch.
In ’19, the Saints allowed 17 touchdown passes in their final eight regular-season contests and 19 touchdown strikes in their first seven outings in 2020. This defense settled down in midseason but Allen’s group gave up plenty of yards – most notably on the ground – and points in losses to the Eagles and Chiefs and even in a Week 16 win over the Vikings.
And while this unit played respectable football in the postseason split with the Bears and Buccaneers and turnovers were a big reason for the latter loss, the Saints surrendered 127 yards rushing to Bruce Arians’ squad. This team strength in recent seasons must be far more consistent in 2021, especially with a new quarterback in place.